‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ Nightmares, How Walt Disney Recreated A Young Johnny Depp

The body double would replicate Depp’s moves
Ian Gavan / Getty Images

The Pirates Of The Caribbean series is one of the most successful Walt Disney releases and has been metastasized into spinoff novels, media publications, and video games. Themed after a Walt Disney theme park ride developed in 1967, the series has grossed over $4 billion at the box office.

That said, its success has been achieved largely through storylines revolving around Captain Jack Sparrow’s character (played by Johnny Depp). In Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, however, the story was set to be a bit more serious. This is according to Stunt Coordinator, Tommy Harper. As such, “heavy” characters such as Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, had to be grittier to have the desired effect.

This is according to a report by Yahoo. This apparently brought on some significant logistical nightmares, with some scenes taking months to get right. He talked about Captain Salazar and Jack Sparrow’s game of high-seas chicken as taking a month to choreograph. There were also significant perils and anything could go wrong, and a lot did, including Kara Scodelario and Johnny Depp getting injured with the latter requiring surgery.

According to Harper’s revelation, some scenes in Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 could not have been possible five years ago due to technological challenges.

“On a creative level, the industry has matured. There’s a lot of capable hands that can pick up a higher volume of work and create environments or city extensions, and you know that you won’t be wrestling the nitty gritty stuff we were back then.”

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man Tell No Tales poster.
  Walt Disney Pictures

He pointed out Javier Bardem’s character as one that posed special challenges. One of those was for the character to look and move like he was underwater, even though he was walking on dry land. To achieve this effect, his team apparently hired a stuntman, and donning Captain Salazar’s costume, had shots taken in a swimming pool. A waterproof GoPro was used to record his movements, which would be used as references in fighting scenes, walks, and dialogues.

As for recreating a young Johnny Depp, a body double was used, as apparently, young skin “moves different.” The body double would replicate Depp’s moves and basically provided the raw material for the scene. Fine details, such as the collarbone of the double, would be tracked over Depp.